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HomeHealth TopicEye Care and Vision

Benefits of Blue-Light Glasses: Do They Work, and Are They Worth It?

Maggie Aime, MSN, RNPatricia Pinto-Garcia, MD, MPH
Updated on November 15, 2023

Key takeaways:

  • Blue-light glasses claim to protect your eyes from the effects of blue light that’s emitted from the screens of electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers.

  • There currently isn’t much evidence that blue light damages your eyes. There’s also little evidence to suggest wearing blue-light glasses will help your sleep.

  • Based on the available evidence, blue-light glasses won’t really do much to prevent eye strain or help you sleep. So they’re likely not worth it.

Two pairs of blue-light glasses on a plain, light-gray background.
Alina Rosanova/iStock via Getty Image

As people spend more time staring at digital screens for work and entertainment, blue-light glasses have increased in popularity. But do they have any health benefits? 

Blue light is naturally found in sunlight and is essential for regulating your circadian rhythm. However, there is some concern that artificial blue light from electronic screens could negatively interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. 

Let’s shed some light on these glasses and help you decide if you should pick up a pair.

What are blue-light glasses, and what do they do?

Blue-light glasses are eyeglasses that claim to protect your eyes from the effects of blue light that’s emitted from digital devices. These glasses have a special coating on the lenses that is designed to filter out blue light. 

Blue-light glasses are not the same as computer glasses. Blue-light glasses aim to block blue light from digital screens. Computer glasses have prescription lenses designed to help prevent eye strain caused by spending long hours working on a computer. You may choose to have a blue-light filter added to your computer glasses (or regular glasses).

What are the purported benefits of wearing blue-light glasses?

Based on the available evidence, there really is no reason to believe that blue-light glasses have much benefit. Some manufacturers of blue-light glasses claim that, by blocking blue light, these glasses will help reduce digital eye strain. Others promote the idea that the glasses may help prevent headaches. Neither of these claims have been proved. And headaches caused by extended use of digital screens are more likely a symptom of digital eye strain, not blue-light exposure.

One study showed that blue-light glasses weren’t any more effective than glasses with regular, clear lenses at reducing symptoms of digital eye strain. Other researchers have found mixed evidence about the routine use of blue-light glasses.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that exposure to blue light from digital device screens is harmful to your eyes. 

Blue light’s effect on sleep is another potential health concern. At night, your brain makes more melatonin to help you fall asleep. When you use LED devices before bedtime, it may confuse your brain into thinking it’s daytime and decrease your nighttime production of melatonin. This decrease could cause you to have trouble falling asleep, which can cause both short-term and long-term negative health effects. 

There is some hope that blue-light glasses could help prevent sleep difficulties related to nighttime screen use. But so far, there’s not much evidence to support this claim, either.

Can blue-light glasses be harmful?

While the benefits of blue-light glasses are uncertain, the AAO does not say that wearing them will cause harm to your eyes. However, some blue-light glasses can cause light reflections that can actually trigger a headache or make your headache worse. 

Discuss your decision to wear blue-light glasses with your healthcare provider, especially if you already have vision-related problems. And get regular eye examinations to ensure your eyes are healthy. Tell your eyecare provider if you regularly use electronic devices, so they can make appropriate recommendations based on your eye health.

If you choose to wear blue-light glasses, look for glasses that are lightweight and won’t pinch the bridge of your nose. They should also have the right size frame. Otherwise, your blue-light glasses could lead to or worsen headaches. 

Do blue-light glasses work, and are they worth it?

No. The AAO does not recommend wearing blue-light glasses to combat digital eye strain. There is not enough evidence to prove their benefit. 

In addition, experts do not believe that wearing blue-light glasses while using digital screens in the hopes of improving your sleep later is worth it. There isn’t enough evidence to prove that blue-light glasses make much difference at night. The best way to prevent sleep-related issues due to blue light is to avoid digital screens for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

How much do blue-light glasses cost?

The average cost of non-prescription blue-light glasses is around $30. But depending on the manufacturer, style, and added features, some blue-light glasses can cost hundreds of dollars. You can buy the glasses online, in a store, or at your eye doctor’s office. 

Consider these tips before you buy: 

  • Make sure your eye exam is up to date. If not, schedule a visit with your eye doctor for an eye exam. 

  • Discuss blue-light glasses with your eye doctor. In addition to finding out if you need prescription glasses, your eye doctor can discuss your concerns about blue-light glasses.

  • Do your research. You should select glasses with the proper lens material and a type of frame that correctly fits the bridge of your nose. 

  • Get the right lens tint. Blue-light glasses with clear lenses filter less blue light and are recommended for daytime use. The dark-tinted ones block more blue light and may be more appropriate during evening use of LED devices.  

  • Consider the amount of blue light they block. You may be tempted to buy glasses that claim to block 100% of blue light. But remember that blue light is necessary for your circadian rhythm. So complete blue-light blockage is not recommended, especially if you also plan to use the glasses during the day.

  • Research the seller. If you’re buying glasses online, check the website’s return policy, warranty, and what other buyers are saying. You don’t want to end up with ill-fitting glasses that you can’t return or exchange. 

  • Start with an inexpensive pair. A more expensive pair of blue-light glasses doesn’t necessarily block more blue light. A good plan might be to start with a low-cost pair that fits comfortably. If you notice an improvement in your sleep, you may choose to upgrade to a more expensive pair.

Other ways to relieve digital eye strain

If you experience eye discomfort after staring at your computer all day, it’s most likely not because of blue light from your screen. The AAO recommends these tips to alleviate eye discomfort and prevent digital eye strain:

  • Don’t forget to blink. Keep your eyes from drying out by blinking frequently, or use artificial tears to keep them moisturized.  

  • Verify your distance. Position yourself so your eyes are about 25 inches (arm’s length) away from the computer monitor. 

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a break. While using digital screens, stop every 20 minutes. Look away from the screen and focus on something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 

  • Increase the contrast on your screen. Adjusting the brightness and contrast on your digital device screens prevents your eyes from working harder. 

  • Wear your computer glasses. They’re specifically made to help you focus on computer screens and reduce eye strain from working long hours. If you don’t have computer glasses, talk to your eye doctor to see if they may help. 

  • Use a screen filter. This will help minimize the amount of glare from your computer or other device screens. 

  • Check your angle. Your monitor should be positioned below eye level so that you’re looking slightly downward.

The bottom line

Wearing blue-light glasses may sound like a good idea if you spend a lot of time staring at electronic screens. But, based on the available evidence, the benefits of blue-light glasses are unclear. There’s not enough research to suggest blue-light glasses will prevent digital eye strain or help you sleep. Because of this, most experts don’t routinely recommend blue-light glasses. 

If you have any concerns, get regular eye exams, and talk to your eye doctor about any vision problems you experience with digital screen use. 

References

American Optometric Association. (n.d.). Computer vision syndrome.

Boyd, K. (2023). Computers, digital devices and eye strain. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

View All References (9)

Gomes, C. C., et al. (2015). Blue light: A blessing or a curse?. Procedia Manufacturing.

Newsom, R. (2023). How blue light affects sleep. Sleep Foundation.

Noyed, D. (2023). The best blue light blocking glasses of 2023. Sleep Foundation.

Porter, D. (2022). Digital devices and your eyes. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Sheppard, A. L., et al. (2018). Digital eye strain: Prevalence, measurement and amelioration. BMJ Open Ophthalmology.

Singh, S., et al. (2021). Do blue-blocking lenses reduce eye strain from extended screen time? A double-masked randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Singh, S., et al. (2023). Blue‐light filtering spectacle lenses for visual performance, sleep, and macular health in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Vagge, A., et al. (2021). Blue light filtering ophthalmic lenses: A systematic review. Seminars in Ophthalmology.

Vimont, C. (2021). Should you be worried about blue light?. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, thorough, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

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